Time Played: About 2, maybe 2 and a half
Overall Rating: 5/5 I fucking adore this game.
So, my housemate's PS4's disk tray is, sadly, entirely jacked. Which means that I have no access to one of my favorite video games of all time: Bloodborne. Oh Bloodborne, what can I say about you that hasn't already been said more eloquently by someone else? Regardless, like anyone who has played a Soulsborne game, ocassionally I find myself desperately craving that familiar back and forth -- the sort of rote memorization that comes with these games where you fall into this beautiful pattern that becomes almost meditative. And Bloodborne holds a pretty big place in my heart -- I simply adore it. So, so very much. So, knowing that Bloodborne PSX exists and that my laptop, with its shitty specs, which chugs playing Stardew Valley on the lowest graphical setting, I thought I'd give it a try. Hopefully, my PC can handle what is, essentially, a PS1 era game.
I am a simple man, give me a "de-make" of my favorite game in the style of the games of my childhood and I will go absolutely fucking feral.
Upon first loading the game up, I was treated to an element of my childhood that I have missed deeply -- the PS1 load up screens and sounds. Oh god, that was beautiful and amazing. The CRT overlay is also really satisfying. Sadly, the tank controls combined with that good old PS1 camera triggers the shit out of my simulation/motion sickness -- so I can only play for really brief stretches (pretty much all 3D games have this effect -- standard PS4 Bloodborne causes it as well, though it usually takes about an hour or so for me to start getting dizzy). Which is part of why I've only managed to get to the second lamp in Central Yharnam...But in these brief stretches, I'm transported back to my childhood, playing video games that I probably absolutely should not have been. I honestly cannot remember the name of the one that most heavily features in these dim and distant recollections of playing gothic, bloodsplattered PS1 games without my parents' knoweldge but Bloodborne PSX takes me back to that, and I cannot possibly say how much I love it.
Something about the graphical limitations makes Yharnam feel even more anxiety-inducing and dark -- the visual field dissolving into deep, black darkness really aids in creating a foreboding environment. The small changes to the music are also wonderful. Especially the addition to the Hunter's Dream. Absolutely lovely. I'm really looking forward to continuing to play this, simulation sickness be damned. It's a great way to get a fix of my favorite game (with some changes in layout which is fantastic, imo) and get my fix of the late 90s and early 2000s nostalgia that continues to consume my life.
Okay first of all - tank controls. God, did all PS1 games control this badly? I'm having flashbacks to Tomb Raider. Thankfully, playing it on PC and using the keyboard makes it a little less unweildy than the time that I tried to play Tomb Raider 2 on PS3 -- which may possibly have been the most motion sickness inducing 20 minutes of my fucking life. (I ended up giving up and just uninstalling the damn game because I simply could not play it without wanting to chuck my guts all over the TV screen). Then again, it looks like (judging from the itch.io page) that Bloodborne PSX doesn't intake analog stick commands -- which means it's probablya bit easier to control that trying to do Tomb Raider 2 with the analog stick on PS3 since everything is smoother now and that just doesn't translate very well to those controls.
It seems...somehow easier than regular PS4 Bloodborne, even though I've died like three times -- maybe that's just because I've played through Central Yharnam so many times. But that's the great thing, imo, about Bloodborne PSX. The level design is actually pretty different -- obviously to make up for the limited hardware. The streets of Central Yharnam are a fair bit less open, becoming even more of a winding maze than they were in the original, which adds to the discomfort and dark, gothic atmosphere. I've not made it to the first boss yet because of the aforementioned issues with simulation/motion sickness but I'm really, really enjoying this weird little journey into something that is nostalgic and familiar yet also largely a new experience.